Naturally, the first fall dessert to debut on the menu has to include pumpkin! Pictured are pumpkin white chocolate ganache, pumpkin seed oil semifreddo, caramelized pumpkin seeds, splatters of pumpkin seed oil, fraises de bois (while they are still available at the market!), and sunflower sprouts. The acidity of the strawberries add a nice contrast to the richness of the ganache and semifreddo. Most people use pumpkin puree exclusively in a dessert, and while there's nothing wrong with that, I wanted to do something different. Lucky for me, working for a German pastry chef introduced me to the wonders that is pumpkin seed oil. The pumpkin seed oil is delicious, rich and nutty, with the flavors further enhanced by vanilla in a semifreddo. Sunflower sprouts usually show up in salads, but I just adore them in a dessert. They are so delicious, crunchy, and nutty. It adds an interesting vegetal element to the dessert, with the nuttiness from the sprouts echoing the pumpkin seed oil.
At the market this week, the last of the stone fruits could be seen in the abundance of peaches, plums, and nectarines piled high at the market stalls. With that in mind, I decided to take a couple of plums and use them for the last time. This dessert was a quick concoction of the best available fruits I could find. This is a microwave pistachio sponge cake, pistachio ice cream, strawberry sauce, poached plums, fraises de bois, lakewood green grapes, and a bit of fennel flowers. Very simple and light. The pistachio is a great flavor to pair with fruits as it contrasts nicely with the wild strawberries, plums, and grapes. Im obsessed with the lakewood green grapes, as they are crunchy, sweet, tart, and so addictive. The plums were poached in a mixture of sugar, water, and Maker's Mark. Sweet and bit boozy. The microwaveable cake is great, as it is served warm and fluffy. Basically, a mixture of eggs, egg whites, sugar and pistachio paste are mixed in the blender and poured in a whipped cream dispenser. Put batter in a paper cup and microwave. Fresh cake! The texture is fluffy due to the aeration and it's ready in less than 30 seconds. Warm cake, ripe fruits, and creamy ice cream, what more can you ask for?